Secrets the hero chronic.., p.15
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       Secrets: The Hero Chronicles (Volume 1), p.15

           Tim Mettey
 
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  **

  I walked over the small hill at Hunters Green Golf Course, which overlooked the clubhouse and the parking lot. The only car in the lot besides my truck was Elle’s little blue car. She was outside leaning against it. It had been a warm April day, but the evening brought a cool breeze. Luckily, there was no rain today. Elle was wearing a white shawl over a pink blouse. Her long flowing skirt danced in the wind. After almost a year of seeing her on a regular basis, I was still in awe of her. She saw me and ran to meet me halfway.

  “Are we allowed to be here?” she said in a hushed voice.

  “Yes, don’t worry. The staff left at 7:00.”

  “Wait, let me guess. Someone’s parents own the place?”

  I laughed. “Yes, Eric’s parents.”

  “For a guy who has only been here for eight months, you sure have a lot of connections,” she replied. I smiled.

  The stars had started to come out. Elle grabbed my hand and I led her through the course. We walked through a small wooded area toward a large clearing.

  “Where are you taking me, Nicholas?”

  “You’ll see.”

  We walked out of the woods onto the fairway of one of the holes. “Are you taking me out for some late-night putt-putt?”

  I pulled her toward the seventeenth green, where the flag was waving in the breeze.

  “Oh my goodness, Nicholas.” She dropped my hand and went running to the green. Earlier, I had set up a blanket and scattered a dozen candles all over the green. The closer we got to the hole, the brighter the candles seemed to shine. I had taken a couple of daisies and put them in a vase next to the blanket, along with some food and drinks.

  “I can’t believe you did all of this for me.” She walked around to each candle, looking at each one as if they were all different presents waiting to be unwrapped.

  “I wanted to show you how much you mean to me, Elle.” Once I said those words, butterflies filled my stomach.

  “Nicholas, it’s so beautiful.”

  The backside of the seventeenth green sloped down dramatically. Farther past the green was a clearing, which revealed the lake that the course was built around. The moon was reflecting off the lake. I sat down on the blanket. Elle sat down right next to me.

  “The lake is so beautiful. You are so wonderful to do this for me, Nicholas. Just when I think I’ve got you figured out, you do something like this.”

  “Is this a bad thing?”

  “No, absolutely not. This is the nicest thing anyone has ever done for me.” She laid her head on my shoulder.

  “So what’s it like?” she asked.

  “What’s what like?” I whispered back.

  “Being a hero.”

  “Well, I don’t really think of myself as a hero.”

  “Well, you are. Those people would have died if it weren’t for you.”

  “A lot of other people died, and I wasn’t there to save them.”

  She took my hand and turned my head to look into her eyes. “There was nothing you could do about them dying. It was not your fault. Your parents are proud of you. I am sure of that.”

  Hearing Elle talk about my parents overwhelmed me. I had never thought so much about my parents around anyone other than Cora. It was easier to do what Cora had taught me—move on and don’t talk about it. A couple of tears fell slowly down my cheek. They never had a chance to hit the ground; Elle’s hand was there to catch them.

  “Everything is okay,” she whispered. For the first time in my life, I felt like that was true. We gazed out over the water for a while, just enjoying each other’s company and the beautiful view.

  “Okay, I brought some fruit for you, and I brought your favorite drink.”

  “Grape pop?” she asked.

  “Yes, indeed,” I said.

  “Nicholas, everything is so beautiful. I would have never imagined that my perfect date was going to be at a golf course. How did you come up with this?”

  “When my dad was younger, he worked on a golf course. He met a girl who worked there with him. Their first date was sitting on a golf course, looking up at the stars after work. That girl was my mom.”

  Without warning, she wrapped her arms around me, startling me. Her lips pressed firmly against mine. My muscles tensed from the shock. I stopped breathing, and the butterflies in my stomach were on the move. When the initial shock of what was happening was over, I began to relax and started to enjoy every second of it. The world stopped and was now revolving around us. I didn’t want this to ever stop. Her soft lips felt like warm silk. She pulled away and looked into my eyes.

  “Are you okay, Nicholas?”

  “Yes, of course. Why?”

  “You don’t look fine.”

  “I’m not sick, I’m, well, um . . . that was the first time I have kissed someone, except when I stole a kiss in fifth grade on a field trip, but that doesn’t count.”

  “I’m surprised that you have never been kissed before, because I want to kiss you all the time.” She gave me that crooked smile that she did from time to time.

  The rest of the night was incredible. We spent it staring up at the stars together. We shared one final kiss before she got into her car. I drove home feeling invincible. I floated up to the front door and unlocked it, creeping inside, hoping not to wake Cora because I was home an hour later than I had planned. There was a note on the table that read, “Nicholas, I’ll be home later. See you in the morning. Love, Cora.”

  I walked upstairs still on a high from the night with Elle. The phone rang. I answered, “Hello?”

  “Nicholas, it’s Elle. I got home safely.”

  “Thanks for calling me.”

  “No problem,” she said. “Nicholas, are we going out tomorrow?”

  “Yes, of course.”

  “Would you come with me to the quarry party? It’s the last one of the year. I want you to be my date.” The dread that I felt about the quarry party was absent. Oliver had not been at school for a week, and his challenge was nothing more than an empty threat. The rite of passage was not going to happen for the first time ever.

  “Elle, nothing would make me happier.”

  “Okay, it’s a date. Meet me at my house at 7:00. Talk to you tomorrow. . . . Nicholas?”

  “Yes?”

  “Thanks again for tonight. It was wonderful.”

  “You’re welcome. Goodnight, Elle.”

  “Goodnight.”

  As soon as I hung up the phone, it rang again. I picked it up quickly, “Hello?”

  “Nicholas?” a rough voice said.

  “Yeah, who is this?”

  “Don’t forget I challenged you.”

  “Oliver, I am not doing it. Do you understand?” I tried to be as threatening as I could over the phone. I failed.

  “You will or I will make you pay. Your girlfriend has more guts than you do—maybe I should have challenged her.”

  He hung up. The fire in my belly burned. I knew that Oliver was not going to back down. This was his last chance to get back at me.

 

  “Nicholas, get up. Hurry!” I could barely focus on Cora, who was running around my room, grabbing my clothes.

  “Put these on. We have to go now.”

  “Go? Where are we going? Cora, we aren’t moving. I won’t go,” I said, determined.

  “Nicholas, we are not moving. I need to show you something. Remember when I told you we would talk about the dreams and attacks later? Well, it’s time.”

  “Can’t it wait until morning?”

  “No, I need to show you now.” She threw my clothes at me. “Get dressed. We leave in two minutes.”

  I got dressed and staggered down the stairs. Cora was waiting for me, keys in hand at the door. I followed her out, shutting the front door behind me. She was in the truck before I was off the porch. I got in and she backed quickly out of the driveway. It was still dark out. I couldn’t have been asleep long; the dashboard clock said 5:14 a.m.


  “So where are we going?”

  “Not now, I will wake you when we get close.”

  “Wake me? How far is it?”

  “It’s ten hours away.”

  “Cora I have to be back because Elle and I—”

  “Nicholas, there are more important things right now than Elle.”

  “Cora, pull the truck over right now. There is no way we will get home in time. I have to be back because Oliver will do something stupid if I don’t show up.” I had my hand on the door handle ready to jump out at the next stop. There was no way I could let Cora take me.

  Cora stopped the truck. She put her hand on my leg. “Nicholas, you have to see something; it can’t wait until later. Believe me, I would rather not have to take you, but I have no choice. After you told me about the people in the truck attacking you, I knew it was time for you to find out. I finally have everything ready for you.”

  “What’s ready?” I demanded.

  “Nicholas, please. I promise you will be home in time for whatever you’re going to do tonight.”

  I loosened my grip on the handle. She would never lie to me. Cora started driving. I tilted my seat back and fell asleep.
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